Coming Out of The Shadows
Philippians 1: 27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
Philippians 3:8 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
Our conduct at church is usually contrary to how we carry ourselves outside. We have seen this type of behavior even amongst unbelievers. However, Christians have been getting away with this for centuries. I think we can all attest to this fact. I have been married for 26 years. That gives a couple plenty of time to study each other. I’ve noticed when my wife is on the phone around me, I know exactly who she’s talking to just by the tone in her voice. I’m sure she can say the same about me. As human beings, we can change our behavior just like the weather. However, within the Kingdom of God, as God’s chosen people we are to practice what the bible calls temperance no matter what the occasion. The KJV uses the word “temperance”, which is the Greek word “egkrateia”. You will find this word in Galatians 5:23 as one of the nine fruit of the spirit. It means> 1) self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites)
I’m not really focusing on sensual desires, that horse has been beaten to death. I am talking about putting on one face for that person and another for someone else. Christ has made us new creatures in Him. The Bible says “put off the old man and put on Christ’’. Our goal is to wear the face of Christ Jesus all the time. We can enter into His rest and cease from all of our works. One of the most stressful works of all is putting up a front for all of our friends, relatives, co-workers, bosses, and then another face for God.
The Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul expected the church at Philippi to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of The Gospel of Christ. He doesn’t want them to practice self-control only in his presence, but also in his absence. When we are in church singing and praising The LORD, we try to appear as beacons of light. Some congregations have manufactured a thing called “the Holy Ghost dance”. Don’t get me wrong, there is such a thing as dancing in The Spirit and it is a beautiful thing to behold. Unfortunately, I have seen with my own eyes Christians losing complete control of their bodies as if The Holy Spirit is doing this. They love to say “I’m saved, sanctified and filled with The Holy Ghost.” It sounds so spiritual. Now between you, me, and the gatepost, I don’t buy it. I think someone many years ago read about King David dancing before The Ark of The Covenant and took it to another level. However, that is just my opinion based on 1st Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.” We are in the business of winning souls to Christ. We must not give people the impression that we have lost our minds. Study 1st Corinthians 14 and you will see clearly, why our conduct must be becoming of The Gospel. Do we really think that our LORD Jesus behaved that way? Some of the things in that chapter don’t apply to us so don’t even go there, use common sense. We are coming out of the shadows of religion and religious behavior.